Gracie’s Summer Reading List…”The Bad Guys: Mission Unpluckable” by Aaron Blabey

Gracie’s Summer Reading List

Recently while shopping for a new fan to keep my chickens more comfortable during these hot summer months, I found these books on display. I had to take a look!

The illustrations were fun, and when I saw one of the books in the series was titled “Mission Unpluckable,” I knew they would make excellent bedtime reading for my chickens (or perhaps summertime reading for your children or grandchildren). They ended up in my cart, and I couldn’t wait to show them to my chickens.

These books tell the adventures of Mr. Fox, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, and Mr. Shark who have all been labeled as “Bad Guys” but who want to do heroic deeds to prove they really are “Good Guys.” (What else can you do when people don’t understand you?)

While it’s not necessary to read the books in this series in order, it does help. Except for the first book, each starts with a recap of the previous book and end with a teaser for the following book.

We obviously had to start with “Mission Unpluckable.” (Some children can be very particular about reading books in a series in order. It’s not so important to chickens.) Here is what Gracie and the others thought.

“I’ve never really cared much about foxes or snakes because I’ve seen them in our own backyard. They are dangerous guys. After hearing these stories, I have a better understanding of them. They may not be as bad as what I had imagined them to be…but I’m not letting them in our home!” – Gracie

“I was a little nervous when the snake started drooling when he was thinking about chickens, but I clucked for joy when Mr. Fox said, ‘It’s time to save the chickens!’ That kept me on the edge of my perch the whole time! Sunnyside Chicken Farm is a scary place.” – Bessie

“The jokes were absolutely wonderful! Hilarious and funny! Their comedic timing was perfect! Any of those Bad Guys would make a great addition to my next Comedy Coop extravaganza! Mr. Shark is my favorite because he likes to wear disguises. I couldn’t stop laughing!” – Pearl

“The illustrations were great, and I may just get out my crayons and color them in!” – Emily

“The Bad Guys are truly sharp dressers. The black suits and ties are perfect, and when they are wearing their sunglasses, you just can’t get much cooler than that. We can all sleep better knowing these heroes are out there protecting us.” – Amelia

The price on the back of each book was $5.99 which isn’t bad considering there are a lot of pages. (It feels like a bigger book than what it really is, so for some children that could be important if they look at number of pages and thickness.) The books fall somewhere between a comic book and a chapter book.

While intended for children ages 7 to 10, I enjoyed reading them too! Reading aloud to Gracie and the others was fun because I got to act out the different voices and the change in font size and style gave me clues on how to read like the different characters.

These books by Aaron Blabey are available through Barnes & Noble, but I bought them from our local Target store. If you’re having a Fourth of July cookout with children, these would make a great gift for summertime reading!

Just so you know, “My Life With Gracie” isn’t getting anything from sharing this book series with you. We don’t collect anything if you click the link here. Some websites work that way, but for us, it’s about reading. Children (and chickens) need to read and be read to, whether it’s what we write or not!

Family Photo Friday!

As much as I tried to convince Emily to let me use a different picture, this is the one she insisted should be used for today. The one I wanted to use showed her sitting peacefully on her favorite perch looking out at the world. In that photo, she looks so content with every feather placed perfectly, a gracious little lady.

Here she is running beside her best friend, Amelia, as they hurried to see what was moving on the other side of their backyard run. That’s Emily on the right. She is looking quite intense and even intimidating (if you’re a worm or beetle), but honestly, she is a gentle sweetheart, as shown in the photo at the end of this post.

Both Emily and Amelia like the way the photo makes their feet blurry and shows how fast they are running. They also like how their feet are moving in unison, showing how close they are even though they are different kinds of chickens. Although they aren’t quite ready for “Sports Illustrated,” one of these days they may be! (Or should I say “Sports Illustrated” isn’t quite ready for them?!?)

One of the things I love about Emily, which this photo doesn’t show, is how large and round her eyes are. She sees everything. She would say it’s because she is the smallest and seeing everything helps her survive. I say it’s because she has the heart of an artist and a philosopher. Her eyes were what prompted me to write the series, “Emily’s Summer Drawing Camp.”

Before I close out this post, I want to thank everyone who read and also commented on yesterday’s post. Seriously, seriously, seriously, thank you so much! Every comment (both on the main website and on our Facebook page) gave me something new to consider as I work on writing a novel about Amelia’s journey beyond our little backyard garden. It’s the one tentatively titled, “Conversations With Amelia.”

For those of you who left comments, I haven’t responded to any of them yet because sometimes it takes a day or two for regular readers to catch up. I don’t want any of my comments to sway how others read and respond.